Four wonderful shows are up for the Tony Award for Best Original Score, including a few newcomers to the musical theater scene and two of the most legendary musical theater composers in history. Throw in a rock musician’s first musical and you’ve got a very exiting category that could genuinely go in any direction. If you haven’t had a chance to get to New York to see the nominated shows, here is a quick look at the four shows nominated in this category and a little bit about the brilliant minds behind the scores.
The music for “Fun Home” was written by Jeanine Tesori with lyrics by Lisa Kron, who also wrote the book. Kron’s previous scripts include “Well” and “2.5 Minute Ride,” though “Fun Home” is the first major Tony nominated show for Kron. Tesori, however, was a great choice to pair with Kron for the music for “Fun Home” as she has several musicals already under her belt, including “Caroline, or Change,” “Shrek the Musical,” “Thoroughly Modern Millie” and “Violet.” Tesori has three Tony nominations to her name, including “Thoroughly Modern Millie” and “Caroline, or Change” and “Shrek the Musical,” though “Fun Home” just may be her first win.
“The Last Ship”
“The Last Ship” is also up for the category of Best Original Score, thanks to some amazingly beautiful music by the one and only Sting. This is Sting’s first jump into the world of musical theater, though he was nominated for the Academy Award for songs that appeared in the films “The Emperor’s New Groove,” “Kate and Leopold” and “Cold Mountain.” He’s also won an amazing 17 Grammy Awards, and is a living music legend. However, “The Last Ship” is a truly special musical for Sting, as it’s inspired by his own childhood experiences in the shipbuilding industry. It’s his first musical and could help get this impressive artist one step closer to an EGOT.
The Kirkpatrick brothers, Karey and Wayne, are no stranger to music, though the Tony nominated “Something Rotten” is their first musical. Karey Kirkpatrick wrote several popular films including adaptations of “James and the Giant Peach,” “Charlotte’s Web” and “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy;” he was also the director for “Imagine That” with Eddie Murphy and “Over the Hedge.” As prolific as Karey is in the world of film, his brother Wayne rivals his talent in the music scene. Wayne has worked with many of the biggest names in country music history, including Faith Hill, Garth Brooks, Amy Grant, Joe Cocker, Wynonna Judd, Trisha Yearwood, and many more. Together the pair has teamed up to create “Something Rotten,” a musical about two brothers who are desperate to create the world’s first musical.
While the other nominees in this category are largely newcomers to the Broadway world, “The Visit” is packed with Broadway legends. The musical is about the richest woman in the world who returns home to get revenge on a man who abandoned her. The music and lyrics for the show are by the amazing team of John Kander and Fred Ebb, who have written more than 20 musicals together. You probably best know Kander and Ebb from hits like “Cabaret,” “Chicago,” “Curtains,” “Kiss of the Spider Woman” and “Fosse.” Their work has earned them three Tony Awards, the Laurence Olivier Award, an Emmy and two Grammys. It also helps that “The Visit” reunited the team with Chita Rivera, another Broadway legend who has worked with the pair many times in the past.
Deborah Flomberg is a theater professional, freelance writer and Denver native. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.